Are you thinking about bringing in outside help for your communications project? You might be cautious, wondering why pay for something you could do yourself? Will someone external ‘get it’ quickly enough and produce good work that doesn’t have to be re-done?
The answer is yes, consultants can add a lot of value—as long as you choose the right one of course. ;-)
Here are seven advantages of working with a consultant.
1. Your time starts now.
Staff on leave? Concentrated communications effort required for a new program? Website out of date? Even the biggest hourglass has a finite number of sand grains. Finding the right consultant to help with your overflow (or overload!) work frees up your time for other priorities.
A consultant brings a fresh pair of eyes and ears to your team. This can help revive a stalled project, introduce a neutral third party to smooth out relationships that may be become strained over internal politics or ownership issues, and provide objective advice to inform your decisions and refresh your focus.
3. Confidential sounding board.
Would you like a savvy confidant removed from your day-to-day minutiae? Tap into the senior expertise and judgement of a consultant who can provide objective advice combined with first-hand experience in similar situations, and the discretion of an external party.
4. Dedicated expertise.
A consultant can fill a skills gap for a specific project or timeframe. Not only do you gain the dedicated expertise you need but also the positive spin-off for other members of the team who add to their skills along the way.
Like many consultants, I’m happy to work on ad hoc projects as needed. This is like being ‘satellite member’ of your team who can be relied on to provide as much or little assistance as you need, when you need it. This type of arrangement gives you flexibility to draw on the knowledge and services of an expert without the commitment and long-term cost—or restrictions—associated with permanent recruitment.
6. Questions for dummies.
As someone new and external to a project or situation, a consultant can ask the back-to-basics questions that can be difficult to raise when you’re in the thick of it. This can help refocus a project that’s going off track, solve a problem, spark ideas or identify better ways to achieve the end-game.
7. Told you so?
While providing informed advice or developing a considered communications approach may not be beyond your in-house capacity, sometimes management just needs to hear it from an independent expert. A consultant can provide a sense-check and the added weight of independence to your communications issues, discussions, recommendations and decisions.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw
|Cinden Lester worked as an in-house communications professional in both the private sector and government before establishing her own consultancy. Having worked on both sides of the fence, she understands if you’ve made the decision to bring in outside help, you’re looking for someone you can trust.
Contact Cinden if you’d like help with your communications.